This week Throwback Thursday dips into the archives of the WWE Network and journeys back to the overlooked World Wrestling Federation Breakdown event, which took place 20 years ago today!
Though World Championship Wrestling has been winning the late summer of ’98 the WWF was in the early stages of a major comeback that would, in the coming weeks, turn the tide of the “Monday Night Wars” for good. The compelling Austin/McMahon story, the rise of The Rock and Triple H, and the evolution of The Undertaker were beginning to take hold with fans. While WCW was fighting to stay relevant from week to week the WWF were busy planting seeds for not only the next month’s PPV but for WrestleMania XV, a show six months down the road.
Best remembered for the main event, Breakdown remains largely forgotten. So let’s hit ‘play’ and find out, after 20 years, if this is an overlooked gem or forgettably mediocre!
This appears to be the live PPV broadcast of the event with little to nothing being edited, including the Superstar Line promos, with almost all of the “WWF” blurring/muting being restored. As for context, all prior editions of Monday Night RAW and Sunday Night Heat, as well as all previous WWF PPVs, are currently available for you to enjoy right now on the Network.
WWF Breakdown: In Your House 24 (WATCH)
Date: September 27, 1998 – Location: Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Attendance: 17,405 – PPV Buyrate: 0.86 (>315,000 homes)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler – Interviews: Michael Cole, Dok Hendrix, & Kevin Kelly
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H
WWF World Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn)
WWF European Champion: X-Pac
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Taka Michinoku
WWF Women’s Champion: Jacqueline
The PPV opens with a memorable vignette hyping Mr. McMahon’s “master plan” of pitting Undertaker and Kane against Stone Cold Steve Austin in an attempt remove the World title from Austin.
Inside Copps Coliseum the pyro lights up the darkened arena as Jim Ross welcomes us to the show and chats with Jerry Lawler about the Kane/Undertaker/Austin main event, explaining the new stipulation that should any outside interference help Austin during the match that the match will be stopped and Austin will be stripped of the WWF title.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 3:00)
Edge vs. Owen Hart
Owen comes out wearing a Toronto Argonauts jersey, the CFL East Division foes of the hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The match itself is one of the best WWF PPV openers of the year. When Owen goes for the Sharpshooter Edge kicks Owen into the ropes, rolling Owen into an inside cradle on the rebound for an excellent near-fall. Edge then lands the spinning heel kick and looks to be on the verge of winning when Christian, making his WWF TV debut, appears at ringside. With Edge distracted, Owen takes advantage and rolls up Edge from behind to score the pinfall at 9:19. After the match Edge chases after Christian.
WINNER is Owen Hart (Pin, 9:19)
Next we go to Dok Hendrix and Sable backstage for a WWF Superstar Line promo.
As Too Much come to the ring we see footage from the go-home edition of RAW of Al Snow defeating WWF Commissioner Sgt. Laughter in a “boot camp” match to earn reinstatement to the WWF. After the match Scorpio saves Snow from a Brisco/Patterson pummeling.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 16:03)
Too Much (“Too Sexy” Brian Christopher & Scott “Too Hot” Taylor) vs. Al Snow & Scorpio
This is a decent, fast-paced, ECW-lite tag match that the fans are into from the start. Both teams look great. Eventually Too Much take over until Snow gets the hot tag and wallops Too Much (and Scorpio) with Head. The finish is a bit a of mistimed mess but it’s fun and creative nonetheless. In the end Al Snow crushes Scott Taylor with the Snow Plow for the pin at 8:06. After the match Scorpio chats with Snow about being cracked with Head.
WINNERS are Al Snow & Scorpio (Pin, 8:06)
Next we head to the locker room where Undertaker and Kane tell Michael Cole that it’s none of anybody’s business which brother will score the fall, that he and Kane have come to “an understanding”. When asked if we may see “brother against brother” Undertaker says, “What you’re going to see is the total annihilation of one Steve Austin.”
— Singles Match (WATCH – 28:49)
Marc Mero w/WWF Women’s Champion Jacqueline vs. “The Droz” Darren Drozdov
This is, for the most part, a lousy match. Droz was as green as goose goo and Mero couldn’t carry a match with a little red wagon. The fans, meanwhile, don’t care about much more than the high flying spots. As the referee admonishes Mero for choking Droz with his wrist tape Jacqueline comes off the top rope, driving her spiked heel into Droz’s head! After a slam Mero (barely) hits “Marvelocity”, Mero’s Shooting Star Press, for the pin at 5:13.
WINNER is Marc Mero w/WWF Women’s Champion Jacqueline (Pin, 5:13)
Up next we get a classic D-X T-shirt promo.
With Vader in the ring we cut to the back where Michael Cole interviews Bradshaw, who says the match isn’t going to be pretty. “Vader,” Bradshaw says, “you’re fixin’ to find out it’s survival of the fittest, not the fattest!”
— “No Holds Barred, Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere Match” (WATCH – 37:11)
Vader vs. Bradshaw
This stiff, hard-hitting fight starts out slow before picking up steam on the floor, where a vocal fan suggests Vader hit Bradshaw with his “fat ass”. Those hoping to see a Stan Hansen/Vader war will be sorely disappointed. There are some fine moments, though, like Vader’s brutal second rope splash to Bradshaw, but they aren’t good enough to save the match. Bradshaw survives a Vader Bomb and floors Vader with the Clothesline from Hell for a near-fall. After a second Clothesline from Hell Bradshaw ends the match with a simple neckbreaker foer the pin at 7:56.
This would mark Vader’s final PPV match for the WWF. Vader would last appear on the October 11, 1998 edition Heat (a loss to Edge) before officially leaving the WWF following the October 25, 1998 MSG house show, not appearing on WWF TV again for some 14 years.
WINNER is Bradshaw (Pin, 7:56)
After relays we head back to the WWF.com location where Jason Sensation just has to do his “best” Rock, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and Undertaker impressions.
As D’Lo Brown bobbles his way to the ring we see footage from the go-home RAW of X-Pac winning D’Lo’s European title.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 49:51)
D’Lo Brown vs. Gangrel
The undefeated Gangrel, who debuted on the August 16, 1998 edition of Sunday Night Heat, was making his WWF PPV debut in this match. Despite the match being cold and the fans being dead, this match isn’t bad. Late in the match, as Gangrel makes the comeback, Mark Henry walks to ringside and eventually Henry low-bridges Gangrel. After ramming Gangrel’s back into the ring post Henry dumps Gangrel in the ring where D’Lo hits the Sky High for the pin at 7:51 to break Gangrel’s unbeaten streak.
WINNER is D’Lo Brown (Pin, 7:51)
After the match Gangrel spits “blood” in Mark Henry’s eyes before dropping D’Lo with the Impaler DDT.
Next we see footage from the go-home edition of RAW of Undertaker and Kane (joined by Mr. McMahon) attacking Mankind, Ken Shamrock, and The Rock during their “number one contender’s” match, setting up the forthcoming steel cage rematch.
Backstage Michael Cole interviews Ken Shamrock, who says he’ll go “as far as it takes” to win and that Rock and Mankind need to “knuckle up”.
In the locker room The Rock tells Dok Hendrix that it’s going to be The Rock’s night. Rock says if they “don’t have too much sugar in your testes”, Shamrock and Mankind need to bring the fight so The Rock can drop the People’s Elbow, lay either one out with the Rock Bottom, and climb out of “the People’s Cage” to win.
And in a darkened section of the arena Kevin Kelly interviews Mankind, who provides a list of stupid things he’s seen and done only to call the People’s Elbow the stupidest thing he’s ever seen. “So if you think that Mankind, in a pay-per-view match inside a steel cage, is gonna lay down and sell that abortion, well you’re even stupider than I look!” Mankind says he’s ready for Shamrock, that he’s “trained inside the museum with ‘Spaceman’ Frank Hickey”, and wonders if “sugar-coated testes” is a new breakfast cereal.
— “Triple Threat Number One Contender’s Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship” (WATCH – 1:01:48)
“The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock vs. Mankind vs. The Rock
This match can be won by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage. This is a great match, with little down time, that tells a great story and employs some solid psychology. The Rock is o-v-e-r, earning the biggest pop of the night by far, and everything Rock does gets a pop, especially the double People’s Elbow. After Mankind and Rock battle atop the cage Mankind attempts a “superfly” elbow from the heavens only to crash and burn. In the end Mankind drags Shamrock, and a steel chair, back into the ring and, after hitting Shamrock with the double arm DDT, uses the chair to knock out Shamrock. Mankind tries to climb out of the cage, celebrating as he ascends, as a bloody Rock crawls over and covers Shamrock for the pin at 18:46. An angry Mankind questions J.R. & Lawler and pulls his hair out.
WINNER is The Rock (Pin, 18:46)
After replays we see a promo for next month’s Judgment Day PPV. Back in the arena the commentators try to transition to the forthcoming Runnels/Venis match when Shamrock “snaps” and begins raging at ringside. When Lawler hides behind J.R., Ross yells “Don’t use me as a shield, damn you!”
Eventually we get to the Venis/Runnels vignette that details the history of their “morality” feud, including clips of “The Preacher’s Wife” featuring Val in bed with Dustin’s wife Terri Runnels.
With Dustin in the ring Val stands in the aisle and says there’s one thing Val’s been saying about Dustin’s wife lately, “Here she comes!” Terri arrives, dressed in lingerie, and the two do some dirty dancing in the aisle before making their way to the ring where a “praying” Dustin awaits.
— Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:32:55)
Dustin Runnels vs. Val Venis w/Terri Runnels
This one is alright for what it is but Terri’s outfit seems to be all the fans care about (“take-it-off!”). Venis controls the entire match, cutting Dustin’s comebacks off at every turn. Dustin ends up hitting a bulldog late and Val forgets to kick out. Moments later Val hits a powerslam and a few elbows on Dustin before ending things with the Money Shot at 9:10. After the match Val and Terri make out in the ring as a distraught Dustin staggers to the back.
WINNER is Val Venis w/Terri Runnels (Pin, 9:10)
After replays we see footage from the September 14, 1998 edition of RAW of Jeff Jarrett jabbing Road Dogg in the throat with a guitar. Next we see footage from earlier on Heat of Road Dogg and X-Pac saving Billy Gunn from D.O.A. and Paul Ellering only to be ambushed by Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice.
— “6-Man Tag Team Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:49:45)
Jeff Jarrett & Southern Justice (Dennis Knight & Mark Canterbury) vs. D-Generation X (WWF European Champion X-Pac & WWF World Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn))
This is a pretty good, fast-paced six-man tag in which everyone involved gets a chance to shine. X-Pac ends up taking the brunt of the punishment until Billy Gunn gets the hot tag. The match quickly breaks down with Gunn fighting off all three heels and X-Pac hitting Jarrett with a Bronco Buster. In the end Jarrett gloms X-Pac with the guitar on the floor as Gunn lands the Fameasser on Dennis Knight to score the pin at 11:16.
WINNERS are D-Generation X (WWF European Champion X-Pac & WWF World Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn)) (Pin, 11:16)
After the match Road Dogg and Billy Gunn tend to X-Pac, who is holding his right eye, as we see replays of the guitar shot and finish.
Next we see a vignette detailing the Undertaker/Kane/Austin/Mr. McMahon story, after which J.R. and “King” chat about the stakes and stipulations.
Next we see footage from earlier on Heat of Stone Cold Steve Austin, posing as a member of the ring crew, attacking Mr. McMahon in the “big blue cage” as McMahon tried to set up a non-title Austin/Mark Henry cage match.
— WWF Championship – “Triple Threat Match” (WATCH – 2:06:222)
Kane vs. The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin(c)
Undertaker and Kane are prohibited from pinning one another to win, making it more of a 2-on-1 handicap match than a true triple threat. While this is a solid match it does drag in places and seems to go on for way too long. Partway through the match The Stooges (Pat Patterson, Jerry Brisco, & WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter) show up in the aisle to watch the match as Undertaker and Kane dominate Austin. Late in the match, after Undertaker and Kane stop each other from pinning Austin, Undertaker turns on Kane and the two begin to brawl. Near the end Austin tries to hit Kane with a Stunner but Kane pushes Austin into a crushing Undertaker boot. In the end the brothers land a massive double chokeslam and pin Austin simultaneously at 22:05 to win the match and end Stone Cold Steve Autin’s second WWF Championship reign (of an eventual six), at 90-days.
WINNERS are Kane and The Undertaker (Simultaneous Pin, 22:05)
There’s no announcement about the WWF title. Instead Mr. McMahon, with a smile on his face, walks to the ring and has Brisco steal Austin’s “smoking skull” belt from the referee. The fans boo as McMahon runs away with the title belt and leaves the arena, running to a waiting limousine, as Austin beats up The Stooges.
Austin eventually makes his way to the back where McMahon, parked at the top of the ramp, taunts Austin. “You don’t have it anymore! It’s mine!” McMahon gives Austin a ridiculous middle finger before climbing into the white limo and taking off as J.R. tells us, “The war hasn’t ended, the war has just started!” With that, Breakdown fades to black.
Aside from the main event this is, unfortunately, a somewhat forgettable PPV event. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. On the contrary, Breakdown is a fun, exciting show filled with some great “Attitude Era” matches and storytelling. If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, Breakdown is well worth the time!
Already a subscriber to the WWE Network? Then you can relive Breakdown right now or see it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments.
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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That is one hilariously executed middle finger by Vince!!
This is an example of why wwe should make a JBL dvd set. Bradshsw.vs.Vader should be featured on it.
Vader appeared in WWE in 2005
He did indeed, in Jonathan Coachman’s corner, along with Goldust.
Edge vs Owen Hart – def a fun opener. enjoyed this match so much wish it went for few more minutes.
Scorpio/Al Snow cs Too Much – Scorpio should’ve scored the win imho here. whatever else that needs to be said here was already said in the review.
Droz vs Mero – omg what did they see in Mero? The Wildman was moderately over w/fans but Marvelous was nowhere near Marvelous at all by any means whatsoever at the least. if this match had to happen, should’ve been on the pre-ppv Heat. More fitting there.
Vader vs Bradshaw – if this match had to happen, should’ve been on the pre-ppv Heat. More fitting there. all things considered it really shouldn’t have happened at all though.
DL vs Gangrel – all i have to say here…happy that DL ended Gangrel’s unbeaten streak! im a fan if his & still feel he was not used to his fullest potential. DL I’m talking about.
Rock vs Mankind vs Shamrock – good match with a great finish. funny thing is I don’t recall Rock getting his title shot except for the SSeries98 tournament where he sold out & went corporate.
Dustin vs Val – never really understood the purpose of Dustin saying goodbye to Goldust only to bring him back in the same year. And this feud, not this specific loss should’ve brought Goldust back if anything was going to.
XPac/NAO vs Southern Justice/JJ – idk why hhh didn’t compete or even show up at the ppv but nonetheless i enjoyed dx’s antics at times & whenever they went against The Authorities of the Attitude Era.
Not the best or worst match of the ppv. As JR said the real story here was XPac. That story got the focus after DX won so that’s that.
UT vs Kane vs SCSA – the match the ppv was built around. I loved it though admittedly yes it did drag at certain points. UT’s shades of ABA continued when the camera caught him mouthing off “wtf r u doin?” to Kane. But I liked how Lawler & JR said how Taker chilled the crowd, shut them up & took them right out of it. I found it funny how JR only reacted when the Stooges hit Austin which was after he attacked them. Lawler’s response to JR, “that was self-defense.” rare times a heel including in commentary was right in those days!